There are numerous things you really want to learn before starting a website. It’s almost cliche to say every business needs a website. Unless you have significant brand recognition, you have a trust defect with your potential customers. More established competitors in search results may even have paid ad campaigns, and you need something online like it was yesterday.
FOMO is real, and you begin working with a freelancer who promises to hit every requirement and deadline for $500. We’ve seen this scenario play out to know it usually doesn’t end well.
Starting a website is a complex undertaking requiring many moving parts with a plan. However, it would be best if you had an idea of success once launched.
Your Purpose for Starting a Website
First, what is the purpose of the website? It’s it to raise awareness, improve customer support, generate sales, etc.? A common mistake is to at a market leader and try to copy their site feature for feature. Once I was asked to build Facebook for pets for $500.
Second, are there company assets that are reusable on the site? Pitch decks, consider adapting a business plan into a working copy deck for a small website. Finally, photos make it break perceptions. Invest in a photoshoot to get professional pictures of you and your business. Honestly, trying to DIY photography hurts much more than it helps. At a minimum, you need photos of yourself for headshots, your place of business ( if applicable), and your products and services.
Tip: don’t try to pose for the camera. Instead, let your action tell a story. Pictures of you speaking at a conference trumps group shots at the networking portion of the event.
Third, let’s talk about your brand identity and what it isn’t. Having a logo isn’t a brand identity, but it is a part of it. Ideally, you worked with a graphic artist who created a brand book that contains your logo, colors, and fonts. The brand book should explain that your brand assets all work together for print and digital projects. You should also receive the editable logo assets in .eps, SVG formats before building your own website.
Without brand identity, time and effort need to develop one during the website project.
So far, we’ve been focusing on non-e-commerce projects due to the lower starting requirements. However, with e-commerce, we need to add product data.
- Product titles and descriptions
- Product weight
- Product families
- Product categories
- Product pricing
- Package weights
Tying it All Together
The final step is to create a short request for proposal for prospective web design agencies. The RFP is a short (1-2page) document that outlines your website’s goals and the resources available to get started. The more details you can provide will result in a more accurate proposal to build your own website.